volume 321, issue 5886, P240-243 2008
DOI: 10.1126/science.1153948
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Abstract: Snow slab avalanches are believed to begin by the gravity-driven shear failure of weak layers in stratified snow. The critical crack length for shear crack propagation along such layers should increase without bound as the slope decreases. However, recent experiments show that the critical length of artificially introduced cracks remains constant or, if anything, slightly decreases with decreasing slope. This surprising observation can be understood in terms of volumetric collapse of the weak layer during fail…

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